Western District of Texas Judge Alan D. Albright has invalidated two of the patents being asserted by Concert Technology Corporation subsidiaries Ikorongo Technology, LLC and Ikorongo Texas, LLC, ending litigation targeting Bumble over its dating app. Ruling on April 12, just over a month after cancelling a scheduled trial, Judge Albright held that the asserted patent claims were invalid for violating the original patent requirement, which mandates that an invention described in a reissued patent claim be explicitly disclosed in the patent’s specification. The decision comes a week after the US Supreme Court declined to review a Federal Circuit ruling that reversed a related transfer denial from Judge Albright—a ruling in which the latter court chided the plaintiffs for their strategic “manipulation” of patent venue.
The Federal Circuit has issued another rebuke of a convenience transfer denial by Western District of Texas Judge Alan D. Albright—doing so precedentially for the first time. On June 30, the appellate court grantedmandamus petitions filed by LG Electronics (LGE) and Samsung after Judge Albright declined to transfer cases brought against them by Ikorongo Technology, LLC (“Ikorongo Tech”) and Ikorongo Texas, LLC to the Northern District of California. Unlike Judge Albright, the Federal Circuit ruled that the case could have been brought outside West Texas, finding that the plaintiffs’ corporate and ownership structure was designed to “manipulate venue” in order to keep the cases in their chosen district. The court further held that Judge Albright had committed another “abuse of discretion” through his ruling on the merits.
Concert Technology Corporation subsidiaries Ikorongo Technology, LLC (as patent owner except in certain Texas counties) and Ikorongo Texas, LLC (as patent owner in those Texas counties) have sued Uber Technologies (6:20-cv-00843) in the Western District of Texas. In March 2020, the plaintiffs sued Bumble (f/k/a Magic Lab Co.) (Bumble Trading), LG Electronics (LGE), Lyft, and Samsung there, each of those defendants having since moved for a convenience transfer to the Northern District of California. Among other things, LGE and Samsung argue that the plaintiffs’ infringement contentions, while facially aimed at smartphones and tablets, are actually “directed at functionality found in the Google Maps, Google+, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and AT&T Secure Family applications . . . running on those devices”. The two patents asserted against Uber generally relate to automatically recording selected computer and internet usage data, including visited websites and location data, and uploading that data to a server for sharing to “buddies”.
In January, RPXflagged a series of internal patent assignments among subsidiaries of Concert Technology Corporation, questioning whether they signaled a possible reboot by the NPE. A group of complaints filed this past week against Bumble, LG Electronics, Lyft, and Samsung by Ikorongo Technology, LLC and Ikorongo Texas, LLC indicate that Concert is indeed back in the business of patent monetization.
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